On February 7th, a historic movement was made, as Vice President Mike Pence, broke a tie in the Senate, knighting Betsy DeVos the new Secretary of Education.
The controversy surrounding DeVos is complicated and convoluted, as there are multiple aspects of her appointment process as well as personal background that make many Americans very weary for the future of the Department of Education. The trouble begins In regards to her knowledge of the public education system in the United States, as DeVos has arguably never stepped foot into a public school, as she was privately schooled her entire educational career, as well as put her children into the private school system. In confirmations of these fears, during a hearing before her appointment. DeVos was found to lack knowledge of basic educational terminology, and when given further assessment was found to have plagiarized the educational stances off the White House’s issues page.
These events gave many little faith in DeVos’s abilities to lead this department with the poise and foundation needed to run such a crucial faction of this nation’s society. As if to add insult to injury, it was revealed that DeVos was also a large financial contributor to the Republican Party, leading many to see her appointment as an act of patronage by Trump.
While to many, DeVos’s appointment seems very dismal in nature, it is worth noting that there are many Americans who are very interested in the private educational system for their, especially in the eastern parts of the United States, where private education, rather than public, is simply the norm due to the extremely poor quality of the education provided at state-funded institutions. DeVos will arguably be able to provide an alternative perspective and potentially help parents have the option to afford private education with the development of the voucher system.
From a more local perspective, many in the more pacific northwestern region of the nation are generally perturbed by many of Trump’s choices, including this newly development with DeVos. The juxtaposition in opinions in the western regions of the United States is natural, as public schools are incredibly reputable and popular in these coastal states.
Even closer to home, Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell, comments on DeVos’s appointment and what he feels will be the ramifications of this development.
“I’m biased in my belief of how important it is for all students to have access to an outstanding education. Protections for that, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, have helped public schools better serve students, so I hope that kind of accountability would continue for all schools that receive public funds.”
This new appointment is one of the first of many to come, some are more controversial than others. While this transition brings about a time of anxiety for some for the fate of education, it is important to remember that there are many educational experts who will keep the system in check and fight to defend the public schooling system.